These lovely poems grew out of the Hewnoaks Poetry Workshop in July, 2015. 

We gathered on a perfect morning in the screen house of Hewnoaks Artist Colony,  and read a number of poems by various known poets, in a wide range of styles. These poems revealed how a writer may focus on an aspect of nature that reflects human feelings and relationships.  Then, we each walked around Hewnoaks, choosing a site to observe, reflect, sketch, draft notes for a poem, and some lines, before coming back together to hear and support each others’ ideas.  

Thank you to all participants for being willing to share the beautiful and moving work. 

Judy Steinbergh

 

POEMS BY PARTICIPANTS OF THE HEWNOAKS POETRY WORKSHOP     

JULY 2015,  with JUDITH STEINBERGH

 

 

It's Time

by Ed Parsons

 

Sitting on the shore of Kezar Lake at Hewnoaks,

Endless whitecaps pushed by a silky westerly wind.

                                                         

Familiar mountains on the horizon--

West Royce, Speckled, Mount Caribou;

The long ridge from Speckled Mountain descending west to east over Butters Mountain

And Red Rock and the sharp little peak above Miles Notch.

                                                

I am so used to pointing out and naming peaks to hiker friends.

But I know that is not what they are.

                                                           

 I want to forget the names entirely.

 I want to forget my name and yours. 

 

It's time to let go and fall into the deep well of our true nature. 

It's time to "take a stand in awareness," as our Zen teacher says. 

 

A herring gull flies up from the lake and stitches the distant green ridge with its white wings. 

A Sunfish skims by, three people crouched under its tight sail. 

 

All is simply awareness. 

That's all. 

That's all there will ever be, or was. 

To gently admit it is to love this world.  

 

 

Time at Hewnoaks

by Susan Welchman

 

How long it took for these trees to tower

For mountains to rise and surround the lake

The birds to return their song to the woods

Bees to promise the blackberries their fruit

While in our short stay we struggle

To make our lives visible

As the wind goes through on its way to somewhere else

 

 

two eggs

by Ardelle Foss

 

She had two and warmed them, with her mate, into hatching.

Yet one did not and was left behind,

to later explode in elements of shock and stench.

 

Yet!  The other thrived and grew,

adorning its costume of black and white and seeing through red.

Immature, it stayed on till the lake turned cold and hard.

 

Yet!  It left at last, to seek a winter-warm sustenance,

And returned in spring, in glorious maturity,

to awe and nurture others.

 

 

Glacial

by Yasmin Azel

 

When the Glacier left

it said its goodbye slowly

like it was walking backwards

as if to avoid the decision

of taking one last look

 

It was never sure it wanted to leave

the lakes pulled on its 

icy blue heart strings 

Stay with me

You make me deep, they willed 

holding on with ropes of river

and strings of brook

then threads of stream

 

It regretted how it was leaving the land

scraped over raw and rough

the grey granite no longer slept

under a sanctuary of pure quiet white

 

It wept boulders of a leaving grief 

 

When the glacier left 

the Land shrugged its mountains 

it pushed them taller 

as if to say I have more space now

 

It began the work of creating a new land 

work that couldn't be done when being held 

by those large hands of steely cold

it took stock of what was there,

Rock, Water, Sun

and it began 

 

 

It first created a thin sheet to sleep under

an alpine garden of hearty little plants 

to hold small stones in place

as an artist might do it added petals of pink

droplets of mist and dew

 

It rested under this new lighter layer of green

knowing one day it would become something of its own majesty. 

 

 

Dear, dear Henry,

by Anna Römer

 

Thank you for loving my land into being,

your caring hands touched every rock in my stone walls,

fitting, moving and adjusting them till perfection.

 

I walk the fields around my house and

I see you, hear you, gently coaxing your oxen into helping you plow.

 

Thank you dear Henry, for planting the apple tree

that my children swing from and jump out off into the snow.

 

Thank you for not cutting down the 10 hemlock trees, deep in the woods,

now my private sanctuary.

 

Dear Henry, I will cherish these acres of lilies and lilacs 

as much as you did.

 

Dear Henry, may our land always be loved.

 

 

 

Note from Dina Dubois:   Fibonacci poetry is a literary form based on the Fibonacci number sequence. Fibonacci poems can embody the number sequence in two ways, either in numbers of syllables or in numbers of words. 

The first poem below is the perspective of looking at the lake in the morning.

The next one is being the lake in the morning.

    ***

 

Mist

Whisper

Lift your face

Where is the morning?

Show

Slowly

Grass, leaf, lake.

Wait until being.

     ***                                

Day

After

All these days

Drenching the mountains

 

Dew

Drizzle

Demanding

Me to  shroud demons.

 

  

        

 

 

MICA

 

When we stumbled on the abandoned mine

it was far better than coming on silver or gold.

Mica, glittering like small mirrors

sewn into cloth from India or stacked

in thick decks protruding from the cliffs,

or strewn among the lumps of littered quartz,

iridescent as fish. We took as much

as we could carry down the mountain

and spread now on the kitchen table

is a vast treasure of shine. We sit

over coffee catching up with friends.

What new events have pressed our old

strata down. We peel layers away

absentmindedly. Imagine a rock that bends,

that slides away from itself, that's

transparent as glass. The mica

takes up half the table, but we

do not pack it away. It is one thing

changing into another: flakes of moonlight

into scales upon the lake we have just left,

summer silver into the brittleness of fall.

This is a time of transition. We may

actually stabilize, become dull. But all

winter the mica will gleam, becoming,

possibly, the first snowfall.

 

            Judith Steinbergh

            from A Living Anytime,  Talking Stone Press.